Monday, November 22, 2010

Saturday at the Roadshow

Quiet Saturday morning traffic enabled me to leave home later and arrive in time for the first talk of the day by Elaine Collins from FindMyPast. Elaine is an experienced and competent speaker who is able to talk comfortably to a large audience. I had missed the first half of Elaine's talk so was pleased to be able to catch it the second time around.  Her news that only one subscription will be needed to access the resources of the UK and Australian editions of FindMyPast in the near future was pleasing. It was good to get an update on the resources that are aavailable through one's subscription. I certainly get my money's worth from my annual subscription.

After hearing Elaine I moved to the smaller room to prepare for my presentation that I have reported on in my post Gasbagging about Genealogy.

After my session I stayed on in the room to hear Shauna Hicks deliver "Archives you may not know - but should!" In her presentation Shauna presented a long list of links to archives that may have relevance to genealogists. Her notes can be found here.

Geniaus and Dan Lynch
After a long lunch break I lined up for my fourth presentation by Dan Lynch. Firstly Dan autographed my copy of Google Your Family Tree and then he posed for a photo with me, thanks Dan. As with his earlier presentations I did not learn so much about the mechanics of Google but I learnt about why some media and google applications can be relevant to genealogists. I tend to steer away from video but, after listening to Dan, am going to explore video as a means to put some context to the lives of my ancestors and distant cousins. Dan suggested that by listening to video one can an idea of how people speak and use language in their locations. He also reminded us that both photos and video found on Google show the physical attributes of places and buildings and will add more context to our research. The best tip for me  was, when using Google to search in countries that speak a language other than English, to search with the terms from that country eg use eglise instead of church or frere instead of brother when searching in France. This approach is bound to bring up more hits.

Dan's enthusiasm as a Google apostle was evident through his talk. When people are passionate about their topics it adds an extra dimension to their presentations.

The next speaker I heard, Louise St Denis, was another presenter who was passionate about her subject and who presented with vigour and flair. Her topic "I found it once. Why can't I find it again!" was basically a mini-tutorial on how to cite one's sources according to genealogical conventions. Louise gave a good overview of this meaty topic.

Unfortunately, as an amateur genealogist who has no thoughts of becoming a professional, I  would find it tedious to apply these rules to my hobby. I have blogged about this on several occasions as I believe that, for a hobby, as long as a citation leads others back to a cited source does it matter if it is done according to Harvard, APA, MLA or some other method. The most important thing for me is being able to find something again!

Apart from the speakers I'll comment on some other aspects of the Roadshow. I thought that the venue was very good with ample parking, a variety of food outlets, a lift for those unable to climb stairs and plenty of space to for small gatherings. If radio mikes could be supplied for speakers and a shuttle from a nearby station arranged for those who don't drive this would be a near perfect venue.

The warm welcome given to attendeess by Carole Riley SAG Councillor and Professional Genealogist set the scene for the day.

The Roadshow had a small number of exhibitors and, if the hole in my wallet, is indicative of other attendees' spending then the exhibitors were relevant to the crowd. I was able to subscribe to a magazine, buy some books and sign up for The Irish Day at SAG.

I must commend the stalwarts from the Sydney TMG Users Group of which I am a fairly new member; volunteers, Linda Bishop and Faye Cooke, manned the table for the two days of the Roadshow  demonstrating to attendees the features of The Master Genealogist software. TMG was the only software package that had a presence at The Roadshow.  If I was in the market for software again I would consider this program not just for its merits but becaue there is so much support available to users through the Sydney TMG Users Group and similar groups in other states.

Thanks again to the team from Unlockthepast for feeding my addiction to genealogy via the Roadshow.

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